Harvick wins pole in Phoenix

Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John's/ Budweiser Chevrolet
Harold Hinson/HHP/GM

Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman rounded out the top-5.

Harvick, driving the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Chevrolet, notched a lap of 140.751 mph in the final five-minute session in knockout-style group qualifying, putting him first on the starting grid for Sunday's CampingWorld.com 500 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX). The pole position was his first of the season, first at the 1-mile Arizona track and 15th of his Sprint Cup career.

Kevin Harvick, going for four straight Phoenix wins Sunday, has six of his 29 career victories in NASCAR's premier series at PIR. Despite the success, Friday marked his first No. 1 starting spot in qualifying.

Daytona 500 winner Joey Logano was second-fastest at 140.543 mph in the Team Penske No. 22 Ford. Jamie McMurray, Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman completed the top five.

Kurt Busch, making his first Sprint Cup start of the season after NASCAR officials lifted his suspension Wednesday, qualified eighth in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 Chevy.

David Ragan, subbing for the injured Kyle Busch in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota, topped the first session, posting a 138.878 mph lap in the waning seconds of the 15-minute round. Ragan, though, failed to make the cut for the final five-minute session, knocked out by four-time series champ Jeff Gordon at the last second of Round 2 and leaving him with the 13th starting spot.

There was early drama further down the board in the opening session, with Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin both posting the 24th-fastest lap at 137.562 mph — identical down to the thousandth of a second. Truex got the final transfer spot into the next qualifying group based on his rank (fourth to Hamlin's tie for eighth) in Sprint Cup standings, leaving Hamlin eliminated after one round.

"We didn't leave ourselves enough time to make another run, which we shouldn't have had to do anyway," said Hamlin, who will start 25th in the fourth Sprint Cup race of the season. "The car was just too loose the first run."

Though delays in the inspection process played havoc with Sprint Cup qualifying the previous two weeks, all 45 cars were at their posts by the 7:50 p.m. ET start time.

Tanner Berryhill, hoping to make his Sprint Cup debut, and veteran Travis Kvapil failed to make the 43-car field.

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 4 JIMMY JOHN’S/BUDWEISER CHEVROLET SS – POLE WINNER

THIS IS THE FIRST TIME YOU’VE CAPTURED THE POLE AT PHOENIX. HOW DID YOU FINALLY DO IT?

“I didn’t even know that. But, it’s exciting for everybody to be a part of this No. 4 team and everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing. I didn’t thank the engine shop or the chassis shop at Hendrick Motorsports last week, but everybody on our Jimmy John’s/Budweiser team is doing a great job. This is a pretty special place. All these west coast races are special, but this one in particular just for the fact that we used to bring our Southwest Tour cars here and our Winston West cars. We struggled a little bit for quite some time and then it all clicked. I didn’t actually know that we hadn’t been on pole here, but to get that first pole with these guys and celebrate anything that we hadn’t done or have done; every week is just a new adventure and it’s pretty special to be a part of a group of guys like this."

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]HOW DO YOU ADJUST TO THIS PLACE? OR, IS IT JUST WHEN YOU LOVE A PLACE, YOU JUST KNOW HOW TO GET AROUND IT?

“Well, I was mad when they repaved it because I thought we had just gotten the old asphalt figured out. But, it seems like the new pave has been better than the old asphalt and we’ve been able to come here and win with a couple of different teams. But this particular team in Rodney (Childers) and everybody on the team, even if we’re off, they make great adjustments and just communicate and do the things we have to do to make the car better. So, we don’t pay a lot of attention to the scoreboard. We just try to make our cars drive as good as we can and in the end, that’s working out for us right now."

JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 CESSNA CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 3rd

YOU HAD A GREAT SHOT AT THE POLE. WHERE DO YOU FEEL LIKE IT SLIPPED AWAY?

“I thought we did everything perfect. We only ran one lap each time trying to save the tires. The tire that Goodyear brought has a little more falloff than what we’ve had in the past here. So we were trying to just run one lap. The adjustments on the car were great. The No. 4 car (Kevin Harvick) is just on a roll. It stinks to be a part of it and have to finish behind him, but it’s pretty awesome to see the results that team is having. So, congratulations to them. Our McDonald’s/Cessna Chevy was really good. We were good from the time we unloaded and I thought we did a good job there. We just needed a little bit more. We’ve done really well on qualifying. We’ve made the final round in every session. And we’ve actually really raced really well. We’ve had a few unlucky instances. We were doing okay at Las Vegas, but I thought our race trim last year starting Friday practices were really good. This is a track position race. Certainly qualifying well gives you a good pit stall and you’ve just got to try to stay up front all day."


RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 31 QUICKEN LOANS CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 5th

ON QUALIFYING:
“It was pretty good we ended up progressing. I don’t know where we were at, we ran more laps I think than maybe the No. 4 did on tires. A good run for the Quicken Loans Chevrolet and a good starting spot. I wish it could have been better, but we beat a bunch of them. Track position is pretty big, so we will see if we can keep that track position."

KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMER’S INSURANCE CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 9th

YOU’VE BEEN CONSISTENT FOR THE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS. IS THAT THE SAME DEAL HERE IN PHOENIX?

“Yeah, same thing. Every week so far this year we’ve been right there in the Top 10; maybe a little better. So I’m really happy. The guys are doing an awesome job. Right there, I just screwed-up the third round there. I think I put too much front brake in it or dropped the track bar. I did something to tighten it up a little too much. So, I missed it on the lap. But we have a really good Farmers Insurance Chevy. I feel like tomorrow we’ll have a couple of good practices and be ready for Sunday."

ON HIS 400TH CUP SERIES START

“I was surprised when they told me that this week. It’s kind of crazy how many starts I’ve had. I’ve enjoyed it. We’ve won some races and enjoyed all the racing and traveling and all those things. It’s a lot more than I thought."


MARTIN TRUEX, JR., NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW/VISSER PRECISION CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 15th

ON QUALIFYING:
“Not real happy, obviously. We wanted to make to the last round at least. We were off a little bit in practice. We were kind of experimenting with a new package for us on short tracks. Just never could quite get it right. In hindsight we probably should have bailed on it earlier, but we wanted to give it a true effort and we did that. We were pretty far off the first round. We made some big adjustments after the first round and then we ran twice in the second. Got faster each time, just didn’t have enough. Just really fought being tight in (Turns) 3 and 4."

HOW HARD IS IT TO MOVE UP THROUGH THE FIELD AT THIS TRACK?
“It’s not hard. We will be fine. We started I think 14th in the fall race and we were fifth before the first pit stop. We will be okay. We just have to get it right tomorrow when it counts."


DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONWIDE CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 16th

YOU SAID THOSE LAST CHANGES DIDN’T REALLY HELP THAT MUCH. WHAT WERE YOU GUYS TRYING TO DO?

“We were getting tight; trying to get front grip in the car. We had a pretty decent car the first couple of shots at it, but going into that next round, we just didn’t adjust enough. But it’s a different tire and we learned a little bit. We’ll do better the next time we come back."


JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 20th

ON HIS QUALIFYING EFFORT AND WHAT MORE HE MIGHT HAVE NEEDED TO ADVANCE:
“We just unfortunately didn’t have the pace today. We were a little puzzled by that. We will go to work and figure out what to do tomorrow. It looks like the No. 5 is running real good, so maybe we can learn a little bit from those guys and apply it to ours. We knew we didn’t have a shot at the pole, but we thought we could get to the third round. A little disappointed we didn’t."

MATT KENSETH,No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Starting Position: 4th
How strong is the car in race trim?
"I'm not really sure, we didn't really work on race trim a lot with our Dollar General Camry. We mostly tried to get ready for qualifying. In qualifying our balance was pretty good, but we were obviously off from the 4 (Kevin Harvick) car, everybody has been the last couple years at this track – off of Kevin. Overall, it drives pretty good so we're just going to work on race trim tomorrow and hopefully we'll have some speed and it will drive good for the long run."

CARL EDWARDS, No. 19 Stanley Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Starting Position: 7th
How was the car in practice and qualifying?
"The car is good – the car was better than I was there. I think we out-thought ourselves a little bit that last run. We should have been a little better, but overall very proud of the guys. Everybody worked really hard today and we were not that fast when we started the day so we progressed all day and real happy with it."

DAVID RAGAN,No. 18 Snickers Xtreme Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Starting Position: 13th
Did the extra laps on your tires hurt your second round qualifying effort?
"It probably didn't cost us, but it didn't help us any. Our Snickers Xtreme Camry was good and we made an extra run in that first session so the exact same thing that happened to us in the first session wouldn't happen, but we made some good adjustments and I probably got greedy getting into turn one and got up into the grey stuff and couldn't finish my lap. It's so disappointing – we wanted to get in that final 12. I think we would have had a shot at a good top-five or six starting spot. Everybody on this is working extremely hard and we've had some good speed on Fridays and Saturdays. We just need to put a whole weekend together. I can't say enough about everybody on this Snickers Xtreme Camry. We'll work on it some tomorrow, but we'll go to bed mad tonight."

How do you feel about the starting position for Sunday?
"I'm certainly disappointed. You never want to be that last guy not to transfer to the last round. It's just one of those things where if I had it to do all over again I might would adjust what I'm doing and try to make a little more adjustment on the car. It's not from a lack of effort from everybody on the M&M's Camry with the new Snickers Xtreme paint scheme this weekend. We have a lot of racing left and when they drop the green flag we'll forget about this and get ready for a fun race on Sunday."

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]BRIAN VICKERS, No. 55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Starting Position: 18th
How do you feel about your qualifying run?
"Pleased, but not satisfied and barely pleased I should say. 18th is not where we want to be at all, but I have to kind of look at it in context. It's a little bit new deal with qualifying and trying to figure that out. We know we need to find a little speed in our cars coming to the race track, but I think the guys did a really good job making the most of what we have. We had a little traffic there on the first run – two cars pulled out right in front of us so we had to go out a second time in round one, which just messes everything up for me. We ran a flat the second time around in round one with a quick turnaround and ran another flat with a very quick turnaround in round two and I think both those times were pretty strong considering it was second and third run on tires. I think if we had a cool down period on our second run on tires in round two then we probably would have made it to round three. I don't know if we had what we needed speed-wise or grip-wise to sit on the pole, but we would have made round three."

DENNY HAMLIN,No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Starting Position: 25th
What happened in qualifying when you missed making a second run in the first session?
"It's disappointing – we don't have a 25th place car, we're way better than that. We just missed it our first run and we were going to make a second run, which everyone that made a second run was way faster and we did that last year. We made more runs than anyone and still got the pole, but we didn't leave ourselves enough time when we left pit road. You have to get turned around pretty quick in these shortened sessions and we just didn't leave our FedEx Camry team enough time."

CLINT BOWYER,No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Starting Position: 30th
What happened to the car in qualifying?
"I don't know. We were just loose and I couldn't keep my 5-hour ENERGY Toyota underneath me. The good news is that we were good in race trim earlier so we will work on it some more in practice tomorrow and be good to go for the race."

Lineup

Pos Driver Behind Gap Speed Time
1 Kevin Harvick Leader Leader 140.751 25.577
2 Joey Logano 0.038 0.038 140.543 25.615
3 Jamie McMurray 0.060 0.022 140.422 25.637
4 Matt Kenseth 0.124 0.064 140.072 25.701
5 Ryan Newman 0.168 0.044 139.833 25.745
6 Brad Keselowski 0.171 0.003 139.817 25.748
7 Carl Edwards 0.178 0.007 139.779 25.755
8 Kurt Busch 0.199 0.021 139.665 25.776
9 Kasey Kahne 0.203 0.004 139.643 25.780
10 Jeff Gordon 0.223 0.020 139.535 25.800
11 Austin Dillon 0.328 0.105 138.969 25.905
12 Kyle Larson 0.368 0.040 138.755 25.945
13 David Ragan 0 Laps 139.157 25.870
14 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 0 Laps 139.141 25.873
15 Martin Truex Jr. 0 Laps 138.884 25.921
16 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 0 Laps 138.814 25.934
17 Tony Stewart 0 Laps 138.718 25.952
18 Brian Vickers 0 Laps 138.654 25.964
19 Greg Biffle 0 Laps 138.515 25.990
20 Jimmie Johnson 0 Laps 138.483 25.996
21 Paul Menard 0 Laps 138.478 25.997
22 AJ Allmendinger 0 Laps 138.430 26.006
23 Danica Patrick 0 Laps 138.297 26.031
24 Casey Mears 0 Laps 137.862 26.113
25 Denny Hamlin 0 Laps 137.562 26.170
26 Alex Bowman 0 Laps 137.363 26.208
27 Sam Hornish Jr. 0 Laps 137.211 26.237
28 Justin Allgaier 0 Laps 136.674 26.340
29 David Gilliland 0 Laps 136.586 26.357
30 Clint Bowyer 0 Laps 136.550 26.364
31 Michael Annett 0 Laps 136.467 26.380
32 Aric Almirola 0 Laps 136.405 26.392
33 Landon Cassill(i) 0 Laps 136.266 26.419
34 Josh Wise 0 Laps 136.245 26.423
35 Matt DiBenedetto 0 Laps 135.834 26.503
36 Trevor Bayne 0 Laps 135.675 26.534
37 Mike Bliss(i) 0 Laps 135.110 26.645
38 Brett Moffitt 0 Laps 135.029 26.661
39 Cole Whitt 0 Laps 134.948 26.677
40 JJ Yeley(i) 0 Laps 134.625 26.741
41 Jeb Burton # 0 Laps 134.409 26.784
42 Brendan Gaughan(i) 0 Laps 133.417 26.983
43 Alex Kennedy # 0 Laps 132.319 27.207
44 Tanner Berryhill # 0 Laps 132.533 27.163
45 Travis Kvapil(i) 0 Laps 132.086 27.255

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